Football Couple

Shirley and Don Baker
Shirley and Don Baker

When I get your magazine, I am simply amazed at all the wonderful things that North Texas is doing. Why? Because I was a 17-year-old freshman in the fall of 1952. I arrived not knowing much about what I wanted, for there were no counselors at my school.

I arrived there in my new clothes and suede loafers and got in a line. When the woman asked me what I wanted to do, I meekly told her I liked Spanish; after all, I had taken three years in my Dallas high school.

She signed me up for a major in Spanish and a minor in English, and for good measure, since a woman rocket scientist was not in the cards in those days, she signed me up for education classes. It was pure fate.

Fate also took my hand, and I met the man I married that year. It was Dutch Week and so I asked several nice guys out to various things. One stuck: Don Baker, who was on the football team.

We married after three months of dating. I had just turned 18 and we eloped to the infamous Rockwall, were married by a woman justice of the peace and went back to Denton to a party at the lake with the rest of the football team. The next day, I had a final and passed!

In the fall of '53, the team nominated me for football queen. My husband gave me roses in the middle of the field. We had a great time there for the rest of our stay.

We danced to 'Fessor and the Aces and went to see all the celebrities at the auditorium. I watched Don run a kickoff back 101 yards in a game. We were both in Who's Who for our respective fields, and he won Outstanding Athlete.

We walked across the stage to get our degrees together and went on our way after a four-year stay in Amarillo to Scottsdale, Arizona.

I had a very successful 30-year teaching career (Spanish, of course), and he had such a successful football team at a high school that Frank Kush asked him to join him at Arizona State University. He was there for 16 years.

Don passed away in 1989. I am now going on 83 and look back on our time at North Texas fondly.

Shirley Warren Baker ('56)
Scottsdale, Arizona

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